Revealing when, how, and how often a pigmentation gene network evolved to be sexually dimorphic in a fruit fly subgenus
Since the origin of the 36 recognized animal phyla, evolution can be largely summarized as the diversification of characteristics among these original body plans. As animal characteristics are the products of development, a key challenge for contemporary research is to reveal the ways in which development evolves through changes in the use of genes within a gene regulatory network. One ideal trait for deep mechanistic study is the coloration patterns observed on the abdominal tergites of fruit fly species from the Sophophora subgenus. Prior research has supported a scenario where elaborate melanic pigmentation limited to the male abdomen evolved once within this clade through the evolution of a sexually dimorphic pattern of expression for the bric-à- brac transcription factor genes. My research seeks to confirm or revise this scenario by bringing attention to the distribution of species with elaborate male pigmentation among the diverse Sophophora species groups and interrogating the patterns of bric-à- brac expression during the development and coloration of abdominal tergites.
Tom M Williams
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium poster
"Revealing when, how, and how often a pigmentation gene network evolved to be sexually dimorphic in a fruit fly subgenus" (2018). Stander Symposium Posters. 1123.